Intro to Pranayama (Breath work) with Richard Rosen
For our 41st episode, I sat down with Richard Rosen. Richard a renowned yoga teacher and the author of five books on yoga. He trained in Iyengar Yoga in San Francisco, and has been teaching for more that 30 years. He, Clare Finn, and Rodney Yee founded the Piedmont Yoga Studio (now called "Nest Yoga") in Oakland in 1987. He is a contributing editor of the Yoga Journal and president of the Yoga Dana Foundation. He has written hundreds of reviews of yoga books and videos for magazines including Yoga Journal, and has given workshops in countries all around the world. Today we sat down to talk about the basic concepts around pranayama.
Listen to the full episode here :
5 BIGGEST TAKE-AWAY FROM THIS EPISODE
1- You can't push yourself in pranayama. You have to remain calm, patient, take your time and back off from your desire to get something done. If you feel, anxious, frustration or anger, you're pushing to hard.
2- When we are not breathing efficiently, generally in comes form tension in the body, and emotions like fear that make us contracted.
3- To begin a breathing practice, start by getting comfortable with watching the breath. Don't do anything. Let the breath have it's own way.
4- Be patient, do it frequently, start laying down on the floor, add support under the spine to open the chest. Sandbags and earplugs are also very useful to support you in your practice.
5- Pranayama is usually done after asana and a gateway to meditation. Asana prepares you to sit and then, Savasana is the most important preparation for pranyama. You actually prepare for pranayama by doing nothing. If you cant sit in alignment, breathing becomes difficult so stay reclined and breathe laying down.
QUESTIONS HE ANSWERED DURING THIS EPISODE :
Can you tell us about yourself and your yoga journey?
Can you explain what is prana and pranayama?
You talk about becoming a witness when we practice… What does that mean?
Why you are passionate about this particular limb of yoga?
What does it mean to be an efficient breather? What are the common defects of the breath?
What are the elements of the breath?
How do we prepare for pranayama? What’s the foundation we need to establish?
Why practice pranayama? What are the benefits?
How does pranayama affect our state of mind or prepare us for meditation.
What’s the link between prana and consciousness?
Tips, tricks, guidelines for beginners? Or reminders for regular practitioners?
For students that are new to pranayama, where’s a good place to start?
For newer teachers that would like to start including some pranayama in their classes, can you give some ideas of how to build a breath pattern into a whole class, or use pranayama as a theme for the practice?
Is it realistic to include pranayama in 1h class?
Why is pranayama not a very popular practice?
Do you think people need to understand the koshas to practice pranayama?
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ABOUT OUR GUEST
Richard began his practice of Hatha Yoga in 1980 at the Yoga Room in Berkeley, and from 1982 to 1985 trained at the BKS Iyengar Yoga Institute in San Francisco. In 1987 he co-founded the Piedmont Yoga Studio with his good friends Clare Finn and Rodney Yee, and taught there for nearly 28 years until it closed its doors in January 2015. Richard continued on with the new owners of You and the Mat until July of 2018, when Nest Yoga purchased You and the Mat’s Oakland location.
Richard is a contributing editor at Yoga Journal magazine, and since 1990 he’s written feature articles, book reviews, a variety of columns, and over 300 yoga video reviews. He’s also the author of four books, The Yoga of Breath (Shambhala 2002), Yoga for 50+ (Ulysses 2004), Pranayama Beyond the Fundamentals (Shambhala 2006), and Original Yoga (Shambhala 2012), as well as recording a seven-CD set titled The Practice of Pranayama (Shambhala 2010). Since 1989 he’s been on the board of directors of the California Yoga Teachers Association, and in 2008 helped form CYTA’s grant-making wing, the Yoga Dana Foundation, which supports California yoga teachers working with underserved populations, such as at-risk and incarcerated youth and disabled students.
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** Edited and mastered by Alexandre Saba